Government inquiry cites Dallas Morning News findings on international transfers of pedophile Catholic priests
The Roman Catholic Church has moved sexually abusive priests across international borders and kept them in ministry, criminal authorities in Australia have concluded.
Their finding mirrors that of our landmark 2004-2005 investigative series, Runaway Priests: Hiding in Plain Sight. We identified over 200 cases in which accused clerics escaped justice by going abroad.
Police in the Australian state of Victoria, in a report to parliament there, cite a case I first brought to light: The Salesians of Don Bosco religious order moved a priest to Samoa in 1998, when he had one child molestation conviction on his record and was facing a new criminal investigation. The little South Pacific island nation had no extradition treaty with Australia – and when an arrest warrant was issued, the Salesians did not send him back.
That priest, who isn’t identified by name in the report, is the Rev. Frank Klep. Salesians leaders told me that they hadn’t tried to shield him, and that he had no active ministry or unsupervised contact with children.
But when I visited Samoa, I watched him help lead a Mass and then hand candy to young children who knew him on a first-name basis. I also talked to several teenage boys who reported meeting him alone in his room.
“Regardless of whether there was any inte...